Imagine if your dog ate all the dirty socks off your floor or
dashed out the front door while you were bringing in the groceries.
Nerve-wracking, right? Suppose he lunged for a bicycle while you were out on
a walk and the cyclist fell over. Yikes. If these scenarios sound all too
familiar, then you might need our help. Your dog doesn’t mean to get into trouble and possibly risk his — or a human’s — life, but he’s probably not aware of the consequences of his actions. For instance, if he’s determined to find the source of a mouthwatering scent, he’s probably going to find a way to do it — even if it means crossing a busy road. It’s up to you to help prevent your dog from getting into
these dangerous situations. Thankfully, there are plenty
of tactics to try and commands to teach that can help curb your pup’s hazardous
habits. Learn more about them in the photo gallery below.
Eating Inappropriate Things
Coming home to find all your shoes or socks in shreds isn’t just
annoying — it’s dangerous. If your dog accidentally ingests an inappropriate
object, it can cause damage to or get caught in his gastrointestinal system and require surgery
for removal. And ingestion of a toxin could have serious consequences. The best way to help stop this from happening is simple: keep dangerous
items out of your dog’s reach. This may require installing baby gates or simply
putting tempting items like socks away in a drawer. You should also teach him the “drop it”
command, which could save his life if he puts something bad in his mouth.
Roaming and Running Away
Roaming is one of the most dangerous dog behaviors. Dogs who
exhibit this habit are more likely to be hit by cars or become lost. Certain
breeds, such as Huskies and Labs, are more likely to roam than others, but any
dog is capable of running away — especially if he or she isn’t fixed. A dog who
isn’t spayed or neutered may roam to find a mate. Fortunately, spaying or
neutering your dog can help curb the urge to roam. Dogs may also roam or run
away out of boredom. Add some mental and physical stimulation to your dog's life by playing
games, teaching tricks and providing interactive toys. And even if your dog has
never tried to sneak away, make sure he’s a pro at coming when called — it could save his life.
Bolting Out the Door
Seeing your dog fly by you and bolt out the
front door is a nerve-wracking experience. To help prevent this from happening to
you, trainer Mikkel Becker has three strategies: First, attach a dragline or leash to a
harness on your dog’s back when the door is likely to be opened. That way, you
have more control of him if he tries to bolt. Next, teach him to wait at the
door. Use this command when your dog is at the front door or at any exit points in his regular routine. Finally, teach him to go to
his mat when the door opens.
Nipping and Biting
This behavior may not seem so threatening when your dog is a
puppy, but if he continues the behavior as he gets older, it’s a whole other
story. Most of the time, nipping and biting is a play behavior, but sometimes
it can be aggressive — and it can be hard to tell the difference. If your pooch
is still a puppy, you can reduce his mouthing by letting out a yelp and
withdrawing attention when he bites. If he stops biting, give him praise. If
you have an adult dog, preventing this behavior may be more difficult. Try
these strategies to help reduce mouthy behavior.
Chasing After Cars, Bikers and Joggers
Does your dog lunge for the delivery truck or run after
joggers when they go by? This could be risky for you, your dog and the
passersby. You’ll need to redirect his desire to chase. An easy way to help deter this behavior is to teach him to turn and sit: when the dog turns his
body toward you and goes into a sit. Once he masters that, it’s time to move to
the next step: adding a distraction like a bicycler or joggers. If your dog has
a history of biting people or seems aggressive, you should talk to a veterinary
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